There is a backhoe parked in my driveway tonight. A sable mound of earth, freshly turned, is just visible from the north deck. It is Goldie's grave.
Goldie wasn't my horse. She belonged to a friend who needed a quiet place to bury her. Somewhere she could settle into dust, and in some other century blow across this hill in the autumn wind that only yesterday filled her crescent nostrils and billowed her flaxen mane.
I didn't know her well, never rode her, never stroked her. When she arrived at In the Night Farm, she was already gone. She died in her own pasture a few miles away -- familiar, safe, in the company of her chestnut companion.
I didn't know her well, but I admired her fine, straight legs that protruded from the bucket of the backhoe. Her bones and tendons stood out lovely and artistic, striking, intricate perfection. Sheen still lay like sunlight on her coat. Neatly rasped hooves, all black, wore fringes of coronet hair grown long for the winter she'll never have to face.
I didn't know her well, but I felt the whisper of her passing. Someone had covered her face with a blanket for the journey between farms. I couldn't see her eyes, to know for sure her soul had gone, but I wondered if she could see me.
Horses can, you know. They see us better than we see ourselves.
I didn't know her well, but she was a good one -- a lucky one, too, to die at home with the family that loved her most of her life. She was twenty-eight.
Farewell, sweet Goldie. Happy trails.
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